Rockefeller Foundation: Grants for Climate Change

OVERVIEW: The Rockefeller Foundation addreses climate change various multiple angles, which include backing high-profile policy work, helping to scale up clean energy infrastructure in rural communities, and adapting to the inevitable effects of climate change. 

IP TAKE: Rockefeller's climate work is complex with very specific criteria, so applicants should research criteria well. The foundation tends to support established, large NGOs, but it also supports some smaller groups. 

PROFILE: Founded in 1913 by legendary industrialist John D. Rockefeller and his son, the Rockefeller Foundation has a long legacy as one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the country. It is no longer the leader of the pack, but with a $3.5 billion endowment, Rockefeller is still a heavyweight that gives a great deal to climate change-related issues across multiple initiatives and four focus areas.  

One of many programs, Rockefeller's dedicated Climate Change features several related initiatives. These initiatives focus variously on freshwater, marine conservation, developing sustainable and resilient cities, and promoting food security in both agriculture and fisheries, among others.

Grants generally fall between $50,000 and $1 million, with a few exceeding $1 million. Rockefeller's climate change grants tend to amount to $10 million to $30 million annually, on average. The foundation is inclined to support large national and international climate change organizations, such as the International Institute for the Environment, the Center for International Forestry Research, and the Resources Legacy Fund. Rockefeller likes to support organizations with names as big as its own.

As noted, Rockefeller's climate change and environmental grantmaking is a bit intense. The programs are involved and, in some cases, very specific. Overall, Rockefeller generally prioritizes the following eco-friendly projects and activities:

  • Advocating for national and international policies to help mitigate the environmental impact of climate change, such as widespread droughts and floods
  • Growing the "green" economy in an effort to reduce overall energy consumption and increase the use of green energy
  • Scaling up green energy infrastructure, especially in rural and low-income communities across the globe
  • Promoting and advocating for sustainable transportation through clean burning public transportation vehicles and through sustainable infrastructures in the county's major metropolitan areas

Grantseekers are welcome to begin an unsolicited funding inquiry through Rockefeller's online system. They should be warned, however, that the likelihood of getting a project funded is slim because Rockefeller likes to seek organizations that are candidates for receiving a grant. In addition, Rockefeller likes to fund bigger organizations that have the ability to exact large and widespread change.


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